Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Datin Maimun

A Day with 
Datin Maimun:

The Dame of Our Hearts

Interview by How Han Ming

Full Name: Maimun bt. Hussin
Date of Birth: 10 December 1952
Place of Birth: Kota Bharu, Kelantan
Primary Education: Zainab Primary School
Secondary Education: Zainab Primary School (Forms 1-5)
Sultan Ismail College (Lower and Upper Six)
University Education: B.A (Hons.) University Malaya, DIP ED (UM)
Career: Kolej Islam Kelang (1977-1982)
Sek.Men Agama W.P (1983-1986)
V.I (1987-2010)
Initiatives and contributions to the V.I.:

1.VI museum
2.Galeri Inspirasi
3.Galeri Ikon
4.Galeri V.I.P
5.Galeri Patriotik
6.Roll of Honour Board
7.Laluan Bahasa
8.Dinding Rukun Negara
9.Anugerah Modal Insan
10.Anugerah Kehadiran Penuh
11.Anugerah Jasamu dikenang
12.Tema Bulanan.

Was it your ambition to be a teacher?
It was my ambition to be a teacher. I grew up in small town Kota Bharu where almost everyone was a teacher and the teachers who taught me were inspiring. I could have joined the diplomatic service, or the civil service, but the calling is in teaching and I have no regrets. It has been a fulfilling career.

Can you share with us your experiences in educating Victorians?
I have no problems with Victorians or children for that matter. I subscribe to Gandhi’s philosophy in many areas, “There is no question about the teacher’s responsibility for the errors of the pupil,” said Gandhi. I take it as my responsibility to correct, to guide and to help turn around the child. Impart love, impact life, a slogan which I reminded myself when dealing with “attention seekers.” They are a small minority. They have their own share of problems which we teachers need to know to help them. As for the achievers, we need to stimulate them, to make them think and not make them purely rote learners. That was the challenge which I enjoyed.

Can you share with us the fond memories that you had since becoming a teacher at the VI?
My daughter said that the school was my playground. Of course, after spending 23 years of my life in VI, I have both fond and not so fond memories. Among the memorable ones would be the setting up the History Corner which later evolved into the school museum (I made a courtesy visit to the late Tun Ismail Ali, the chairman of PNB to get the ball rolling) and, of course, the visit of the most distinguished guest to VI, the former Prime Minister, YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2005. For many years I organized the Annual Founders’ Day by bringing distinguished ex-Victorians back to their alma mater as part of what I call VSR (Victorian Social Responsibility). For this year’s Founders’ Day, we had YBhg Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam as the guest of honour. Apart from the events, other memorable moments were the times spent with my students. I found most of them witty, active, proactive and reliable. It was not difficult getting things done. A number of them are just born clowns or jokers. I guess they have helped me become 58 years young. Thank you, Victorians.
Any not so nice memories?

After 23 years in VI, I feel so much for the school that I cannot condone the desecration of the school. For example, the felling of the royal palm trees that once lined the road to the car porch was heart breaking. The trees were felled and none were spared for reasons only the authorities know but which I will never forgive. The trees had their history. They blamed the termites for their action. In truth, it was a case of ignorance and no respect for the historic trees. Next, the School Hall. A so-called make-over resulted in the sound system gone wrong. That happened when people in authority wanted to show that they had brought about change. Indeed there was change, from good to bad! The desecration picked up with the upgrading of the school to a cluster school of excellence and a heritage school a year later. With the funds that came with it, the ceilings were plastered, hiding all the heritage beams and the pretty cornices. The irony of it all, the hall and rooms were labeled “Heritage Rooms” and “Heritage Hall.” The make-over seemed more important than the education of the students. You asked me a direct question and I give you a brave answer. How I wished that money had been spent in upgrading the school library and making a world class resource centre rather than money spent on beautifying a meeting room and even a toilet for just one person. Some people do not seem to know what heritage is, unfortunately. Restoration is what is required not renovation for heaven’s sake. It’s so sad.

What did you like about the V.I.?
First, I like the beauty and heritage of the building. The architecture is beautiful, the site is perfect. The green makes other schools in KL green with envy. The students are ONE VI; you know what I mean. They are colour blind .They call their seniors “abang” and the respect for their abangs know no boundaries. I really love to see their camaraderie especially during co-curricular activities. I just hope that the younger generation of Victorians foster close ties with each other just like the old Victorians. One must note that there are many talented students in VI. It would be a waste, if they are only expected to score A’s in the public examinations.

What do you like most about teaching?
I like educating the students. It is about getting them to read between the lines, the lesson to be learnt and the values to be appreciated. The teaching part has to be done first, you know, the what, why, when, where and the how… but the thinking process has to be encouraged and guided. The KBKK (creative and critical thinking) curriculum introduced by the Ministry of Education is definitely good but if it is not done properly it remains an acronym without much meaning. Teaching is an art as well as a science and that is why it is not that easy. It takes passion to develop the skill which is not simply measured by the documentation you have “done” because documentation is only just another skill (the yardstick of excellence in today’s system of education). I am afraid I have still not arrived after 33 years of teaching.

Who are the people in VI who have influenced you to be a better person?
I admire Tuan Haji Rahim and Tuan Haji Baharom (both are Datuks now) former principals of VI. They both were hands-on CEOs. I enjoyed working with Mrs. Loo. She was the Head of the Math and Science Department who was very committed, disciplined, systematic and professional. We complemented each other as I, being an Arts person, helped fine tune the programmes and events we plan together. It was good for the V.I. for that duration.

Any suggestions to improve the current education system?
I would very much wish that the Minister of Education or the Director-General of Education would make surprise visits to schools just like the Chief Justice does. Go and see what is happening in schools today. Do not be overwhelmed with reports and documents that are too good to be true! Seeing is believing. As for the education system, I am from the old school who believes that there must be soul and not just statistics in education! I was lucky to have had fun during my schooldays, even in small town Kota Bharu. We had food and fun fairs, exhibitions and concerts during the annual prize giving day/week. We had singing classes which helped make going to school enjoyable. Of course times have changed but we can well adopt some of the good old ways. Oh yes, I introduced Victorian Idol, held during the Language Month. The boys enjoyed the programme a lot.

Do you think that extra-curricular activities are important to students?
Without doubt! Parents must realize the importance of co-curricular activities and give the children their strong support and strike a win-win formula with their children. Only then will parenting and schooling be meaningful.

How can we get students to enjoy learning history and empowering themselves with a good command of BM and BI?
For language, it is simply reading. Read, read and read! Read good books. The man who does not read good books is at no advantage over the man who can’t read them, said Mark Twain. I am sure you agree. The Learn-A-Word-A-Day Programme helps! Just make the effort and show interest, after all it is for one’s own self. Please realise the importance of both BM and BI. There are many graduates out there still unemployed for not being language competent. As for History, it’s a different story! The job market does not look for historians. That is why some students do not find it necessary to learn history. Teachers will have to make it interesting by showing power point presentations, brainstorming, group work, quizzes, school trips, debates, mock elections, etc. A lot of preparation can be outsourced actually. I enjoy getting students to ask questions because that will reflect their understanding and knowledge of the events of history. Unfortunately, history in most schools is not taught the way it should. Students are not taught to think but to remember.

What are your plans after retirement? Travelling? Teaching in a private institution? Or simply taking it easy?
Traveling after I retire? I say, I do it before I retire and will travel for as long as my health allows. I have done it. I have travelled and I shared my many trips to many parts of the world with my students. The mesmerising Taj Mahal, the mystical Borobodur and Prambanan temples in Jogjakarta, the magnificent Parthenon/Acropolis in Greece, the amazing Great Wall of China, the mysterious pyramids of Giza, the wonderland of Disney, the Gold Coast of Australia, the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, romantic Bali and many more. I brought the countries I visited to the classroom as I wanted to develop the interest to see places in them. I would love to go to South America, to see Machu Picchu. I have plans to go to Kazakstan to attend my daughter’s friend’s wedding next year. After all now everyone can fly! I have to disclose that I performed the haj in my early thirties and the umrah several times. I may not look pious though!

Can you share with us your main principles in life?
I like Winston Churchill’s quotation. “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.” And Gandhi said, “There is always enough for the needy but never enough for the greedy.” I work more for others than for myself as I believe that God works in mysterious ways. I count my blessings and I thank HIM by giving and I pray that HE will continue giving me good health, harmony and happiness.

If you have the opportunity to make a significant change in the V.I. or even in the education sector, what would that be?
I have had the opportunity. I did what I wanted to do, like honing the oral skills of the students, language skills, thinking skills and to a certain extent soft skills too. I gave them the stage to deliver speeches and poetry to boost their confidence.I hope I have impacted lives but of course I wish that I had done more. It is my wish that senior and experienced teachers guide the younger teachers who are good but need guidance especially in critical and creative thinking. Do not just focus on paper work.

Are there any words of wisdom that you want to share with the Victorians?
I want the Victorians to read and to keep up with the times, in terms of news, knowledge and ICT. It’s not just about getting the string of A’s. Students must know the challenges of Vision 2020 and be a dutiful citizen of the country by rising to the challenge. Do justice to the V.I. by living up to the aspirations of the founders. Don’t just walk the corridors of V.I. and bring no glory to the school nor self. Do V.I. proud! I wish all Victorians success and excellence in whatever they choose to do.

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*Selamat bersara Datin Maimun.

*Datin Maimun memang cikgu yang berani bagi pendapat. Beliau juga memang rapat dengan student.

*Learn-a-word-a-day ni memang bagus. Datin Maimun akan tanya dekat student yang berselisih dengan beliau apa perkataan untuk hari ini dengan apa maksudnya.

*Abdullah Arif Tesno mesti rindu dengan Datin.

*Terima kasih Datin Maimun.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beza #1

Ni Incredible Hulk
Ni Hulk Hogan

Bila ada orang salah sebut, aku jadi gembira bila teringat benda ni.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Satu Pagi Yang Selasa

'Bangun bangun, pukul 9.30 dah ni. Kau tak nak pegi kelas ke? Apehal kau tido sambil senyum ni?' Chot kejut aku sambil tanya soalan bukan-bukan.

'Kejap la.' balas aku pendek. Baru bangun ni tak boleh paksa otak pikir macam-macam.

Aku bersila atas tilam sambil sambung senyum. Aku termenung jauh sambil layan mamai. Setelah tersedar aku terlambat, aku segera bangun pergi ke sinki memberus gigi. Berus gigi sambil pejam mata ni bukan calang-calang orang boleh buat.

Aku tengok Amir, Shah dengan Chot pun dah siap-siap pakai baju nak pergi kelas. Jimi tengah tido, dia takpe, kelas dia petang nanti. Aku bergegas masuk bilik air bukak shower. Tiba-tiba rasa belakang badan kena libas dengan tuala.

'Woi, berapa kali nak kena kejut ni?' kali ni suara Shah pulak.

Cis, mimpi dalam mimpi rupanya. Macam Inception. Nasib baik aku belum mimpi buang air lagi tadi.

p/s: Aku tengah study tajuk Lembaga Rayuan untuk paper Planning Law and Legislation esok sambil dengar lagu Don't Look Bank in Anger oleh Oasis bila aku tercampak mancis dalam air nescafe yang ada lagi separuh. Sape letak mancis merata ni. Untuk meredakan kemarahan, aku tulis cerita merepek ni.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Satu malam yang Ahad.

Aku lepak dengan Amir dekat luar rumah. Duduk atas motor sambil borak-borak. Sejuk malam ni. Baru lepas hujan. Amir keluarkan sebatang rokok dari dalam kotak. Gesek mancis lalu bakar rokok. Banyak kali aku nasihat pakai je lighter lagi senang. Amir kata 'baru nampak macam cowboy. Hehehe' sambil sengih-sengih. Cowboy kepala bana dia. Aku tengok asap berkepul-kepul keluar dari mulut dan hidung Amir, berkepul-kepul naik ke atas, ke langit, lalu hilang diterbang angin. Kami sambung borak sambil Amir hisap rokok. 'Hang nak tak?' tanya Amir sambil tunjuk rokok yang tinggal separuh. Aku ambik endah tak endah. 'Kau ada AIDS tak?' pendek je soalan aku. Amir terus tukar topik cerita pasal Kedah lawan Selangor.


Jersi Home Scotland
Saya mintak tak banyak. Saya nak mintak sehelai je. Please Burhan, jangan tukar jersi ni dengan keychain Eiffel Tower lagi.

Dulu saya ada dua jersi ragbi. Satu tu jersi ragbi VI. Coach janji pada kami kalau kami dapat masuk final, dia nak bagi jersi yang kami pakai tu terus dapat kat kami. Kami buat sejarah jadi batch VI yang pertama pergi final MSSKL selepas kali terakhir 26 tahun (kalau tak silap saya) yang lalu. Saya dapat jersi yang saya pakai sepanjang tournament tu. Jersi nombor 2. Jersi tu kena curik dari locker saya kat asrama masa akhir tahun tu jugak. Tak sempat saya nak bergaya pakai jersi tu pergi Pavilion. Ok, sebenarnya Pavilion pun tak bukak lagi masa 2006.

Saya sekarang tinggal satu jersi.

Maties Academy, South Africa
Tahun 2007, kami dapat peluang lawan dengan team Maties Academy dari South Africa. Mereka hantar team under-14 untuk lawan team under-16 kami. VI kalah. Lepas habis game, kami bertukar jersi. Coach suruh kami bagi baju training kami yang harga RM25 untuk tukar dengan jersi Gilbert mereka. Walaupun kalah, kami tetap untung. Hahaha. Jersi ungu ni ada lagi dalam simpanan, saya jarang pakai sebab saiz S dia tak kecik macam saya angankan.

Sekarang saya ingin berdoa Burhan balik Malaysia dengan jersi yang saya harapkan. Burhan, pepatah ada mengatakan, 'Datang dengan harapan, pulang dengan kejayaan'. Semoga jersi yang saya harapkan tidak bertukar menjadi keychain Jambatan Pulau Pinang misalannya.